Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice

Airing nationally during Hispanic Heritage Month on SoCal PBS Sept. 16

Published on LatinoLA: August 21, 2011

Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice

The award-winning documentary Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice, about the trailblazing jurist who was the first Latino appointed to the California Supreme Court, will be broadcast on public television during 2011 Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2011 -- in Southern California on SoCal PBS on Friday, September 16th at 9PM.

During his extraordinary life, Cruz Reynoso has been one of those rare individuals who not only were shaped by history but made history. As the child of migrant farm workers, Reynoso understood injustice and as a lawyer, judge and teacher, he has fought to eradicate discrimination and inequality. Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice was produced and directed by award-winning director Abby Ginzberg. It is narrated by Luis Valdez; Ray Telles (The Storm that Swept Mexico) served as Consulting Producer. The one-hour film was funded by Latino Public Broadcasting and the California Council for the Humanities.

Born into a large Mexican-American farm worker family, Cruz Reynoso struggled to earn an education; he graduated from Pomona College and then received a law degree from UC Berkeley in 1958, where he was the only Latino in his class. In a career marked by a number of firsts, he was the first Latino director of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), which provided legal aid to California's rural poor during the early days of Cesar Chavez's farm worker movement. As the film chronicles, the CRLA came under fire from then Governor Ronald Reagan, who saw the CRLA's efforts as counter to the interests of his agribusiness supporters.

Reynoso was also one of the first Latino law professors in the country, beginning his academic career at the University of New Mexico Law School. He next became the first Latino justice on the California Supreme Court, appointed by then Governor Jerry Brown. Late, as Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, he provided leadership in the only investigation of the voting rights abuses which disenfranchised thousands of Florida voters in the 2000 election. He received the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton for his lifelong devotion to public service. Today at 80, he continues to teach law at UC Davis Law School and actively participate in community organizations throughout the state of California.

About the Filmmakers

Abby Ginzberg (Producer/Director) - Abby Ginzberg has been producing and directing award-winning documentary films since 1983. Her work has focused on character-driven stories, racial and gender discrimination and social justice issues, and has been shown in film festivals and broadcast on public television networks nationally and internationally. Her previous film about another trailblazing jurist, Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson's American Journey earned several awards and was featured at film festivals around the country and broadcast on public television Thelton Henderson has been the judge responsible for the reform of medical care for those incarcerated in California's maximum security prisons. Ginzberg has won numerous awards for her work including five CINE Golden Eagles, two Silver Gavels and in 2008 she was selected as a Gerbode Foundation Fellow.

Ray Telles (Consulting Producer) - Ray Telles recently produced The Storm that Swept Mexico, a two-hour documentary about the history of the Mexican Revolution, which aired nationally on PBS. Telles is a veteran producer of many award-winning programs including The Fight in the Fields, the biography of Cesar Chavez; Inside the Body Trade; Children of the Night (Frontline) and Race is the Place. He has been a producer and director for NBC's Dateline, ABC's Turning Point and Nightline, PBS and Univision. Telles has won numerous awards including three Emmy Awards, the DuPont-Columbia Gold Baton and two PBS Programming Awards for News and Current Affairs.

About Latino Public Broadcasting - Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of public media content that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of interest to Latino Americans. These programs, including the series Voces, are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations. Edward James Olmos is founder and Chairman of the LPB Board of Directors. For more information please visit www.lpbp.org and www.voces.tv.

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